Summit calls for the 'territorial integrity' of Ukraine to be the basis of any peace agreement

EIGHTY COUNTRIES HAVE jointly called for the “territorial integrity” of Ukraine to be the basis for any peace agreement to end Russia’s war, though some key developing nations at a Swiss conference did not sign up.

The joint communique today capped a two-day conference at the Burgenstock resort in Switzerland marked by the absence of Russia, which was not invited, but that many attendees hoped could join in on a road map to peace.

About 100 delegations, mostly Western countries including Ireland but also some key developing nations, took part in the conference – and experts were watching to see how and if at all they might line up behind the outcome document.

Participants India, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were among those that did not sign up to the final document, which focused on issues of nuclear safety, food security and the exchange of prisoners.

The final document said the UN Charter and “respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty … can and will serve as a basis for achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine”.

Analysts say the two-day conference is likely to have little concrete impact towards ending the war because the country leading and continuing it, Russia, was not invited – for now.

Its key ally, China, which did not attend, and Brazil, which was at the meeting as an observer, have jointly sought to plot alternative routes toward peace.

summit calls for the 'territorial integrity' of ukraine to be the basis of any peace agreement

Swiss president Viola Amherd Taoiseach Simon Harris and Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the peace summit yesterday

The meeting also endeavoured to return a spotlight to the war at a time when conflict in Gaza, national elections and other concerns have seized global attention.

The three themes of nuclear safety, food security and prisoner exchanges featured in the final statement.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said they amount to “minimum conditions” for negotiations with Russia, alluding to how many other areas of disagreement between Kyiv and Moscow will be harder to overcome.

Qatar’s prime minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, noted a day earlier that his rich Gulf country hosted talks with both Ukrainian and Russian delegations on the reunification of Ukrainian children with their families that has so far resulted in 34 children being reunited.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan, speaking to reporters at the resort on Saturday, said it is “going to take work” and countries stepping up to build on efforts by nations like Qatar.

“It’s going to take a spotlight from the international community, not just from only voices from the United States or Europe, but from unusual voices as well to say what Russia has done here is more than reprehensible and must be reversed,” he said.

summit calls for the 'territorial integrity' of ukraine to be the basis of any peace agreement

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy seen on screen during plenary session of the peace summit in Switzerland

The Ukrainian government believes that 19,546 children have been deported or forcibly displaced, and Russian Children’s Rights Commissioner Maria Lvova-Belova has previously confirmed that at least 2,000 were taken from Ukrainian orphanages.

Speaking today, Taoiseach Simon Harris spoke about the “horrors children experienced in the temporary occupied territories of Ukraine”.

“A child was constantly interrogated, electrocuted, tortured, forced to sign a confession to a crime he had nothing to do with,” said Harris, referencing a case contained in a report from the Ombudsman for Ukraine.

“We need to be shouting about this report from the rooftops.

“We must make sure there is awareness right across the globe of these horrific war crimes against children that are taking place today.

“But of course we must do more than just raise awareness, we need to be restless to take action.

“For my part, we will dig deep in terms of doing more in a practical way to assist the global coalition,” said Harris.

Harris yesterday said the actions of Russia were “utterly illegal and morally repugnant”.

“This is the stealing of children and it’s about time the international community calls it out, and I for one intend to do that.”

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